I found Spyderco in the early 2000's. It was Benchmade of all things that led me here.
I lived near a really nice, locally owned camping store at the time. I'd go in there frequently looking at general camping supplies.
Of course I'd always look at their knives. I'd glance at all the high dollar stuff like the $40 Smith & Wesson folders and think about how awesome they looked, and how I'd like to own one some day. I stuck to $10-20 Swiss Army Knives.
One day two display cases caught my eye. One was full of Surefire lights, and I was wondering why anyone would pay $200 for a flashlight. The other was full of Benchmades, and I wondered why anyone would pay $200 for a knife.
So of course I had to check them out. Asked the clerk if I could check out a Benchmade. So he comes over and I ask to see the 635 Mini-Skirmish
The clerk handed it to me and I opened it, held it for about 3 seconds, then I gave it back and went home.
That was all it took. I was hooked. In those ~5 seconds I felt a night and day difference between what I held and what I owned. My gas station knives felt like toys in comparison.
So I go home and research knives on my PC. I still wasn't ready to shell out $200 for a knife, so I spent a long time researching Benchmades red class knives. I was considering a Pika or Monochrome as my new knife. They looked like a significant step up from my current knives, but had a price that was easier to swallow.
However, the Spyderco Delica was the #1 recommended knife on the discussion boards I visited, so I decided to try it out. After doing research comparing the Delica and the Pika, I was convinced the Delica 4 was better because the steel liners made it more rigid, and Spyderco seemed to be the "original."
Returning to the camping store, I ask the clerk for a Spyderco Delica, buy it and leave.
I ended up not liking the knife. The saber grind didn't cut as well as my swiss army knives which dissapointed me, and the handle was too small for me. I was unaware of the Endura at the time. I had purchased the Delica without ever touching it because I felt certain it was a sure thing with all the suggestions I got. Lesson learned.
Back to my PC for more research. What's a bigger Spyderco with better cutting geometry, I asked?
Which led me to a 440V Military.
Which sold me on the brand.
It was nearly the same weight as my Delica despite the size. It fit my hand perfectly. The full flat grind cut much better. The action was the smoothest I had ever experienced in a knife. The blade steel was remarkable at holding an edge, and surprisingly tough too. And the G10! I had never experienced G10 anything back then!
The rest is history. What's your story?